Skip to main content
CNN EditionU.S.
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!

Hearst: Elizabeth may face future trauma

Former kidnap victims recall ordeals that came afterward

Elizabeth Smart with her father, Ed, and Mary Katherine, left.
Elizabeth Smart with her father, Ed, and Mary Katherine, left.

Story Tools

more video VIDEO
Kidnapping victim Patricia Hearst talks with CNN's Larry King about the case of Elizabeth Smart (March 13)
premium content

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (CNN) -- Elizabeth Smart survived being kidnapped at knifepoint and being held captive by homeless street preacher Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Ilene Barzee for nine months, according to police.

"There's no question at the time of the abduction she was in fear, and was fearful for a period of time," said Salt Lake City Police Chief Rick Dinse.

He also said the fact that she was walking around with the couple in an area where she might have been able to escape indicted that they had some sort of psychological control over her.

Patricia Hearst Shaw understands what that is like. She was a college student when she was kidnapped from her apartment in 1974, imprisoned in a closet, sexually assaulted and forced to participate in a bank robbery before being freed.

"You have been so abused and so robbed of your free will and so frightened that you come to a point that you believe any lie that your abductor has told you. You don't feel safe. You think that either you will be killed if you reach out for help, or you believe your family will be killed," said Hearst.

"You've, in a way, given up, you've absorbed the new identity they've given you. You're surviving -- you're not even doing that you're just living while everything else is going on around you," she said.

Hearst said that for some time after Elizabeth is back with her family she may still believe "her kidnappers have some sort control over her."

Hearst said she didn't feel free until she faced her abductors in court and "knew for sure that they could never, ever hurt me again."

Elizabeth's father, Ed Smart, also believes his daughter was brainwashed. He and his family have not pressed her for details to spare her further trauma.

"We want her to have privacy, we want her to have the opportunity to be reunited with her family," said her uncle Tom Smart.

Being with her close, loving family may be the best thing for Elizabeth, said Hearst, adding that professional psychological help would be a good idea.

Other kidnap victims

"It's always been a daily part of my life," Andrews says of his kidnapping 30 years later.

Other young kidnap victims have not been able to forget their own traumas after they were returned to their families.

In 1973, 13-year-old Martin Andrews was kidnapped, shackled, repeatedly raped and then buried in a box until he was rescued eight days later.

"I've always known that it happened. It's always been a daily part of my life," Andrews said 30 years after his nightmare.

Steven Stayner was 7 years old when he was snatched off a street in Merced, California, 100 miles west of Berkeley.

His kidnapper, Kenneth Parnell showered Stayner with gifts, changed his name to Dennis and told him his parents could no longer afford to raise him.

The two lived in trailer parks and motels for more than seven years until Stayner escaped in 1980 and went to a police station with a 5-year-old boy in tow -- a boy Parnell had kidnapped two weeks earlier. Stayner told police he didn't want the boy to endure the abuse he had.

Stayner also had trouble adjusting when he was returned to his family.

"When I disappeared, Steve Stayner died and Dennis Parnell was born -- the name I went by -- and then it's kind of like going back again to switch from Dennis Parnell back to Steve Stayner again," he said after he was freed.

Steven Stayner was reunited with his family in 1980, after seven years of captivity and abuse.
Steven Stayner was reunited with his family in 1980, after seven years of captivity and abuse.

His mother, Kay Stayner, said her son "came back different, very different."

Stayner married and had two children before he died in a motorcycle crash in 1989, at age 24, in a collision with a hit-and-run driver.

Parnell was convicted of kidnapping both boys and served five years of an eight-year prison sentence -- the maximum available at the time.

Parnell, now 71 years old, was just arrested in January and charged with conspiracy to commit child stealing, according to a Berkeley police spokeswoman.

Katie Beers was 10 years old when she was kidnapped and sexually abused for 16 days by family friend John Esposito in 1992. While she was kept in an underground dungeon, she watched on closed-circuit television as police searched Esposito's home in vain. Beers later said those pictures and hope kept her alive.

Katie Beers changed her name and has gone on to college.

Hearst: Questioning can be brutal

Hearst said Elizabeth Smart may face another ordeal as the case is readied for trial, and she urged the Smart family to hire an attorney "to keep the investigators in line."

Heiress turned captive turned fugitive Patricia Hearst describes brainwashing:
Heiress turned captive turned fugitive Patricia Hearst describes brainwashing: "You will believe any lie that your abductor has told you."

Hearst suggested the Smarts limit the investigation to the kidnapping and not include any physical abuse Elizabeth might have suffered.

Hearst said in her own case she should never have told police she was sexually assaulted because the questioning was "so brutal, it was horrific. And it just isn't worth it."

She said that if Elizabeth is examined by the prosecution's doctors, the defense can insist that its experts also do physical or psychological exams, causing the teenager further trauma.

CNN correspondent Jamie Colby contributed to this report.


Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Father guilty of killing 9 of his children
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards
 
 
 
 

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.